This weekend I had the opportunity to have a discussion with my friend Jennifer Becerra, who is a registered nurse (RN) at Texas Health Southwest Hospital in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU), for Careers in Aging Week! She expressed the love she has for her job and how passionate she is for being able to impact people’s lives.
What do you do as a Registered Nurse in the Progressive Care Unit?
Working in the Progressive Care Unit, Jennifer works with adults of all ages, but the patients she primarily works with are older adults. When explaining the kind of patients she treats in the PCU, she stated that, “Within our unit we receive many patients with chronic health conditions, many of those are of advanced age”. Going into more depth as to what she does on a daily basis, Jennifer explained to me that she “work[s] at the bedside and help[s] care for these individuals, where [she] will closely monitor their condition, communicate with their physician of any changes, manage their medication, assist with daily activities and needs, as well as providing education and support to the patient and family”.
She has to handle all sorts of situations with her patients. When describing such situations she replied “with our older adults we care for, many require assistance and are at risk for falls, many times they present with weakness or may develop dizziness due to medications, therefore we take several measures to ensure their safety, while still maintaining their functional mobility”.
What is your favorite part of working with older adults?
When asked to elaborate on her favorite part about working with older adults, Jennifer made it clear that it was spending time conversating with them. “I love to hear their stories when I can, and they are so appreciative when we take time to stop what we are doing and listen. I tend to lean towards a holistic approach when it comes to caring for my patients, because although caring for their physical condition is vital, their psychological and spiritual health is important as well”. But it is not just the patients that she cares for. “It is an amazing feeling when you know you have lifted someone’s spirits, whether a patient or family. I have had many incidents where our patients go on hospice, and we as nurses are the one’s providing comfort to the patient and family in their final moments together. As difficult as it can be, it is a blessing to be able to touch others in a positive way during a difficult time in their lives”.